LeBron James inspired the Los Angeles Lakers to a sixth straight win, while the Milwaukee Bucks secured their 50th victory of the NBA season.

James posted a season-high 40 points in the Lakers' 118-109 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday.

Anthony Davis had a double-double of 21 points and 14 rebounds, while James went 17-of-27 from the field while also contributing eight rebounds and six assists.

The top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Zion Williamson poured in 29 points for the Pelicans.

In a battle between the Eastern Conference's top two, the Bucks were too good for the Toronto Raptors 108-97.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 19 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists as Milwaukee improved to 50-8.

 

Terrific Tatum, super Sabonis

Jayson Tatum lifted the Boston Celtics past the Portland Trail Blazers 118-106 with 36 points, going eight-of-12 from three-point range.

Domantas Sabonis' 21 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists helped the Indiana Pacers thrash the Charlotte Hornets 119-80.

Zach LaVine's 41 points were not enough for the Chicago Bulls, who were edged by the Oklahoma City Thunder 124-122.

 

Horrible Hornets

Charlotte are now 3-7 in their past 10 after the heavy loss to the Pacers. Terry Rozier went two-of-13 from the field for five points in 26 minutes.

 

LeBron, Caruso combine

Alex Caruso delivered a pass through his legs for James to dunk home.

Tuesday's results

Indiana Pacers 119-80 Charlotte Hornets
Milwaukee Bucks 108-97 Toronto Raptors
Oklahoma City Thunder 124-122 Chicago Bulls
Denver Nuggets 115-98 Detroit Pistons
Los Angeles Lakers 118-109 New Orleans Pelicans
Boston Celtics 118-106 Portland Trail Blazers
Sacramento Kings 112-94 Golden State Warriors

 

Celtics at Jazz

The Celtics (40-17) look for back-to-back wins when they visit the Utah Jazz (36-21) on Wednesday.

The Golden State Warriors are hoping Stephen Curry makes his return from injury against the Washington Wizards on Sunday.

Curry has played just four games this season, sidelined since October due to a broken hand.

The two-time MVP is targeting a return against the Wizards and head coach Steve Kerr is hopeful about the 31-year-old's availability for the clash at the Chase Center.

"That is the hope," Kerr told a news conference on Tuesday.

"I think we're going to re-evaluate on Saturday so he won't come back before that date, but I know he's had that date in his mind.

"He'll continue to work this week and then we'll make that determination on Saturday whether he'll play or not on Sunday."

The Warriors have struggled without Curry and amid an injury-ravaged season, having gone into Tuesday with the worst record in the NBA at 12-45.

Zion Williamson believes LeBron James does not get the respect he deserves despite the incredible standard he has maintained throughout his NBA career.

Williamson will face LeBron for the first time in his career on Tuesday when the New Orleans Pelicans take on James and the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Pelicans are 10th in the Western Conference standings with a 25-32 record, but still harbour hopes of claiming the eighth seed in the playoffs.

Should they achieve that goal, the Pelicans could face the Lakers, who hold the top seed in the West as it stands, in the first round of the postseason.

Williamson, though, is not viewing this week's encounter as a possible playoff preview.

"I'm not necessarily looking at it from that perspective," he told reporters after scoring 28 points in the Pelicans' 115-101 road win over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.  

"I'm looking at from the perspective as, you know we need every win, we're trying to fight for that eight seed in the playoffs."

On four-time MVP James, he added: "I used to watch him all the time, especially when he was in Cleveland the first time, he was just an incredible player to watch, he always held his own.

"Sometimes I feel he doesn't get the respect he deserves but it's not for me to decide."

Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook bemoaned always being considered "the bad guy" and queried why more players were not punished in the incident that led to his ejection against the Golden State Warriors.

Nine-time All-Star Westbrook's night ended prematurely when he received two technical fouls in Houston's 135-105 victory.

The second of those technical fouls came in the fourth quarter after Westbrook caught Damion Lee with a stray arm.

The situation was only exacerbated when Westbrook then argued with players on Golden State's bench, including the injured Klay Thompson, before confronting Kevon Looney prior to being ejected.

"I hold myself to a very, very high standard," Westbrook told reporters afterwards.

"I think the refs, the fans, the media, the NBA are put in a position now that I'm not allowed to really do much. Obviously I'm an emotional guy.

"If you watch the clip, obviously I hit Lee but it wasn't on purpose. I'm going to the glass, he got hit. He said something to me, I said something to him.

"I'm standing there, a guy [Juan Toscano-Anderson] comes to snatch the ball out of my hand. Guys come running to me, I didn't move.

"But I'm always the one who gets painted to be the bad guy in the whole situation.

"They asked me to walk towards the Warriors bench. I'm just over there walking towards the bench and then one of the little young fellas tells me, 'Why you walking over here?'

"I turned around and said, 'What did you say?' So now everybody's running over to me, then I'm walking towards the thing, then Looney steps in front of me.

"I feel like I'm in a position where it's like, 'Oh, well. Russ is being Russ', which nobody knows what that means.

"But I've got to do a better job of holding myself to a very, very high standard. I'll make sure I leave no room for error to allow somebody to paint me out to be a guy that I'm not."

However, Westbrook, who had 21 points and 10 assists before his exit, felt he was singled out and that others should have been punished too.

"I just think it's unfair, though, that after all of that, I'm the only one who gets a tech or kicked out," added Westbrook, who leads the NBA with 13 technical fouls this season.

"That's not fair, I don't care what nobody says.

"There were so many other people involved in it that were doing so many things that weren't okay but I'm the one that gets the tech, gets ejected, and everyone else is cool and gets back to play.

"But I take responsibility and I hold myself to a very high standard."

Giannis Antetokounmpo starred as the Milwaukee Bucks resumed their NBA season with a comfortable win, while the Houston Rockets cruised on Thursday.

Back in action after the All-Star break, the Bucks improved to 47-8 with a 126-106 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

Antetokounmpo finished with a double-double of 33 points and 16 rebounds, while Khris Middleton poured in 28 points.

Eric Bledsoe went eight-of-14 from the field for his 19 points and Brook Lopez contributed 18 for the Bucks.

The Rockets were untroubled by the Golden State Warriors in a 135-105 thrashing.

James Harden (29 points and 10 assists) and Russell Westbrook (21 points and 10 assists) finished with double-doubles.

All five of Houston's starters finished with double-digits for points, with Robert Covington adding 20.

 

Young red-hot as Embiid lifts 76ers

Trae Young had a career-high 50 points in the Atlanta Hawks' 129-124 win over the Miami Heat.

Joel Embiid's double-double of 39 points and 16 rebounds helped the Philadelphia 76ers past the Brooklyn Nets 112-104 after overtime.

Malik Monk's 25 points off the bench helped the Charlotte Hornets beat the Chicago Bulls 103-93.

 

Bulls' slump continues

The Bulls' loss was their seventh straight as they were left with a 19-37 record and in 11th in the Eastern Conference.

 

Young from deep

Young went eight-of-15 from three-point range in a dazzling display.

Thursday's results

Milwaukee Bucks 126-106 Detroit Pistons
Atlanta Hawks 129-124 Miami Heat
Philadelphia 76ers 112-104 Brooklyn Nets
Charlotte Hornets 103-93 Chicago Bulls
Sacramento Kings 129-125 Memphis Grizzlies
Houston Rockets 135-105 Golden State Warriors

 

Grizzlies at Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers (41-12) resume their campaign against the Memphis Grizzlies (28-27) at the Staples Center on Friday.

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said the struggling franchise never considered shutting down superstar Stephen Curry for the rest of the season.

Curry has been sidelined since October following surgery on a broken hand, but the two-time NBA MVP is nearing a return for the Warriors.

The three-time champion is set to be welcomed back by a Warriors team who own the worst record in the league at 12-43 after last season's run to the NBA Finals.

Golden State have been crippled by injuries to Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and others, while star Kevin Durant left via free agency.

While some question the benefits of allowing Curry to return in 2019-20 as the Warriors struggle at the foot of the table, Kerr dismissed the suggestion that the six-time All-Star should not play again this season.

"He's perfectly healthy," Kerr told reporters on Wednesday. "He's in the prime of his career. If the point is because he might get hurt, then what's the point of ever playing anything? People can get hurt any day.

"I guess the argument would be, 'Well, we're not going to the playoffs.' So are we not trying to entertain our fans? We're selling tickets to all these people who love basketball, and Steph Curry is one of the most amazing, graceful, exciting basketball players on Earth. And if he were healthy and we didn't present him to our fans and say, 'Here you go. Here's your gift for staying with us for this whole season,' what would that say about us? That we don't care about our fans?

"So to me it's never been a question. As soon as he's ready, he's coming back. Our fans deserve it. We need it as a team to springboard into next year, and it's the right thing to do."

Kerr added: "Steph doesn't have to talk us into anything. We know he wants to play because he loves basketball, and we want him to play because we need him for the continuity to build that momentum for next year and then our fans are dying to see him.

"He's playing. He's almost healthy, he's almost ready, so he's playing. No discussion. He doesn't need to convince me of anything. This is a totally different deal than Klay. Steph had surgery on his [hand], it's basically healed. He's right on the cusp [of returning]. Klay had an ACL [injury]. It's a totally different conversation. I think there's a big distinction there."

Stephen Curry was back at practice with the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, with Steve Kerr admitting the two-time MVP got the Tom Brady treatment from his team-mates.

Warriors guard Curry has been sidelined since October having twice undergone surgery on a broken hand, but he recently said he remained on course to return next month.

Golden State were boosted by Curry's involvement in their defensive drills and shooting practice in their first practice since the All-Star break. 

However, given Curry's status as the team's star and the nature of his injury, Kerr joked he ordered players not to make contact with the 31-year-old as if he were a red-shirted NFL quarterback in practice.

"We're calling him Tom Brady today. Don't touch Steph," Kerr told reporters, referencing the six-time Super Bowl champion.

"I think it was more for fun than anything. He took part in everything apart other than our scrimmage. Our scrimmage at the end, he didn't do that.

"He's looking great. He cannot be touched!"

Reports suggest Curry's return could come on March 1 against the Washington Wizards, with the Warriors having five games on the schedule before then.

Kerr insisted there was no definitive timeframe for Curry's comeback but added he was impressed by his conditioning.

"I don't know when he's going to be allowed to scrimmage. It's not this week or anything," he said.

"He looks really good. He's gaining strength, gaining confidence.

"He's been putting himself through some brutal workouts so his conditioning is about as good as it can possibly be because of somebody who hasn't been able to scrimmage because of how he goes about his work."

The Warriors have made the NBA Finals in each of the previous five years but this season they are bottom of the Western Conference with an NBA-worst 12-43 record.

As well as Curry's lengthy absence, they have had to content with five-time All-Star Klay Thompson being sidelined by a torn anterior cruciate ligament that is expected to keep him out for the entire campaign.

"It's easy to look and say, 'In a couple of weeks, Steph's going to be ready to play', but Klay's a long way from that," Kerr added.

"I don't even entertain any thoughts of Klay playing this year."

The Toronto Raptors and their 15-game winning streak was snapped by the Brooklyn Nets, while the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks lost without reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Toronto carried a franchise-record run into Wednesday's contest but the defending champions went down 101-91 at the Nets midweek.

It was the Raptors' first defeat since falling to the San Antonio Spurs on January 12.

Kyle Lowry's triple-double of 12 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds were not enough for the Raptors, while Serge Ibaka top scored with 28 points on the road.

Caris LeVert led the Nets by scoring 20 points and Jarrett Allen contributed 10 points and 13 rebounds.

The Bucks, meanwhile, were beaten by the Indiana Pacers 118-111 in the absence of star Antetokounmpo.

Antetokounmpo missed his second successive game following the birth of his son and the Pacers took advantage, snapping a season-worst six-game losing streak.

Malcolm Brogdon posted 17 points and matched a career-high with 13 assists for the Pacers in Indianapolis, where T.J. Warren stole the show with 35 points.

Donte DiVincenzo was the pick of the Milwaukee players after scoring 19 points off the bench.

 

LeBron lifts Lakers, Doncic dazzles

LeBron James and Anthony Davis put on a show. James posted a triple-double (32 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds) and Davis registered 33 points and 10 assists as the Los Angeles Lakers outlasted the Denver Nuggets 120-116 in overtime. They became the first Lakers team-mates with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in the same game since Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in 2008.

Luka Doncic was at it again, putting up 33 points and 12 rebounds to help the Dallas Mavericks beat the Sacramento Kings 130-111.

The streaking Utah Jazz defeated the Miami Heat 116-101 thanks to Donovan Mitchell's 26 points and a Rudy Gobert double-double of 16 points and 20 rebounds.

 

Carmelo and Osman struggle

Carmelo Anthony has shown he is far from a spent force after being picked up by the Portland Trail Blazers in November. However, the 10-time All-Star had a rough night in the 111-104 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. While collecting 15 rebounds, Anthony was just one of 15 from the floor for five points in 36 minutes. The veteran also missed all four of his three-point attempts.

The Cleveland Cavaliers topped fellow strugglers the Atlanta Hawks 127-105, but Cedi Osman had a game to forget. Osman made just one of 10 shots from the field, while he was one of seven from beyond the arc for three points.

 

LeBron almost breaks the rim!

James has provided countless highlights over the course of his illustrious career and the three-time NBA champion produced another, this time a ferocious dunk.

 

Wednesday's results

Cleveland Cavaliers 127-105 Atlanta Hawks
Orlando Magic 116-112 Detroit Pistons (OT)
Washington Wizards 114-96 New York Knicks
Indiana Pacers 118-111 Milwaukee Bucks
Brooklyn Nets 101-91 Toronto Raptors
Memphis Grizzlies 111-104 Portland Trail Blazers
Charlotte Hornets 115-108 Minnesota Timberwolves
Dallas Mavericks 130-111 Sacramento Kings
Utah Jazz 116-101 Miami Heat
Phoenix Suns 112-106 Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers 120-116 Denver Nuggets (OT)

 

Clippers at Celtics

The two final games before the All-Star Weekend take place on Thursday. The Los Angeles Clippers (37-17) travel to the Boston Celtics (37-16), with both teams coming off losses. The Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans are also in action.

Struggling NBA franchise the New York Knicks are worth $4.6billion, according to Forbes.

The Knicks have endured a tough time on the court, without a playoff appearance since 2012-13 as they continue to languish at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

New York have already sacked their head coach David Fizdale and replaced president Steve Mills this season.

However, the Knicks are the NBA's priciest team, ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors, per the magazine's calculations.

The average NBA team are now worth at slightly more than $2.1b.

 

NBA Team Values 2020:

New York Knicks ($4.6b)
Los Angeles Lakers ($4.4b)
Golden State Warriors ($4.3b)
Chicago Bulls ($3.2b)
Boston Celtics ($3.1b)
Los Angeles Clippers ($2.6b)
Brooklyn Nets ($2.5b)
Houston Rockets ($2.475b)
Dallas Mavericks ($2.4b)
Toronto Raptors ($2.1b)
Philadelphia 76ers ($2b)
Miami Heat ($1.95b)
Portland Trail Blazers ($1.85b)
San Antonio Spurs ($1.8b)
Sacramento Kings ($1.775b)
Washington Wizards ($1.75b)
Phoenix Suns ($1.625b)
Denver Nuggets ($1.6b)
Milwaukee Bucks ($1.58b)
Oklahoma City Thunder ($1.575b)
Utah Jazz ($1.55b)
Indiana Pacers ($1.525b)
Atlanta Hawks ($1.52b)
Cleveland Cavaliers ($1.51b)
Charlotte Hornets ($1.5b)
Detroit Pistons ($1.45b)
Orlando Magic ($1.43b)
Minnesota Timberwolves ($1.375b)
New Orleans Pelicans ($1.35b)
Memphis Grizzlies ($1.3b)

Andre Iguodala felt like he was returning "home" when he lined up against the Golden State Warriors for the Miami Heat on Monday.

The veteran was a three-time NBA champion with the Warriors and won the 2015 Final MVP award, cementing his legacy as a Golden State legend.

Speaking before featuring against his old side for the first time since his departure last July, Iguodala thanked the fans at Chase Center, where the likes of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry paid tribute to the 36-year-old.

"From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everybody that supported us, supported me my entire time here," Iguodala – who had two points, five rebounds and two assists off the bench – said as he addressed the crowd before a 113-101 victory for the Heat.

"It definitely feels like home every time. I just left, but it feels like home. Really appreciate you guys and appreciate you being loyal Bay Area fans.

"My brothers will be back in action, full squad next year, to wreak havoc on the league for 80 games. Love y'all."

Thompson hailed Iguodala as one of the Warriors' all-time greats, with Curry readily echoing those sentiments.

"We've got one of the greatest Warriors in the history of the organisation back," said Thompson. "We call him the Swiss Army knife. One of my favourite team-mates of all time.

"He made me, Steph [Curry], Draymond [Green] and [Kevon] Looney's job much easier, as well as coach [Steve] Kerr and all the coaching staff. So we're indebted to this man for what he gave us."

Curry added: "The respect that he has from the entire fan base out here you just have to step back and tip your hat to greatness."

The Los Angeles Lakers were dominant in the NBA on Monday, while the Toronto Raptors' winning streak continued.

Anthony Davis' double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds helped the Lakers cruise past the Phoenix Suns 125-100.

Rajon Rondo starred with 23 points on nine-of-13 shooting, while LeBron James had 17 points for the victors.

The Raptors' franchise-record winning run reached 15 with a 137-126 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Kyle Lowry finished with a double-double of 27 points and 11 assists, while OG Anunoby (25 points and 12 rebounds) also had a double-double.

D'Angelo Russell made his debut for the Timberwolves, contributing 22 points in 32 minutes.

 

Bucks roll on, Murray leads Nuggets

Without Giannis Antetokounmpo, who missed due to the birth of his son, the Milwaukee Bucks eased past the Sacramento Kings 123-111.

Khris Middleton (28 points and 11 rebounds) and Eric Bledsoe (28 points, eight rebounds and eight assists) led the Bucks.

Jamal Murray had 14 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter of the Denver Nuggets' 127-120 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

The Miami Heat overcame the Golden State Warriors 113-101 as Jimmy Butler finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

 

Jackson struggles

Reggie Jackson went two-of-11 from the field in the Detroit Pistons' 87-76 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

 

Warriors pay tribute to Iguodala

The Warriors paid tribute to Andre Iguodala, who won three championships with the team, and faced Golden State with the Heat on Monday. He had two points, five rebounds and two assists off the bench.

Monday's results

Charlotte Hornets 87-76 Detroit Pistons
Brooklyn Nets 106-105 Indiana Pacers
Orlando Magic 135-126 Atlanta Hawks
Toronto Raptors 137-126 Minnesota Timberwolves
Milwaukee Bucks 123-111 Sacramento Kings
Utah Jazz 123-119 Dallas Mavericks
Denver Nuggets 127-120 San Antonio Spurs
Miami Heat 113-101 Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers 125-100 Phoenix Suns

 

Celtics at Rockets

The Boston Celtics (37-15) are riding a seven-game winning streak ahead of visiting the Houston Rockets (33-20) on Tuesday.

LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were among the 44 finalists for a place in the United States men's basketball team for the 2020 Olympic Games.

Three-time Olympic medallist James and nine of the players from the successful 2016 campaign in Rio were included on the list announced by USA Basketball on Monday.

Should the Los Angeles Lakers star make the final 12-man roster, he will join Carmelo Anthony as the second player to represent Team USA at four separate Games.

Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson won gold in Brazil four years ago and have made the cut despite being yet to play a minute in the NBA this season due to respective Achilles and knee injuries.

Curry was named despite being sidelined since October with a broken left hand.

All 12 members of the USA's 2019 FIBA World Cup team remain in the running, with 21 NBA franchises represented in the 44-man list.

Head coach Gregg Popovich said: "I'm looking forward to coaching the U.S. Olympic Team, and I'm excited about the potential and possibilities this team has.

"Anyone who follows international basketball knows there are many really good players from all around the world, and therefore there are many excellent national teams.

"International basketball has improved so much from the days of the 'Dream Team'. The Olympics in 2020 will be a true competition, and there are many teams that will have a legitimate shot at capturing gold."

 

Finalists for the USA's Tokyo 2020 team:

Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs), Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana Pacers), Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics), Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat), Mike Conley (Utah Jazz), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers), DeMar DeRozan (San Antonio Spurs), Andre Drummond (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets), Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers), Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), James Harden (Houston Rockets), Montrezl Harrell (Los Angeles Clippers), Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets), Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers), Gordon Hayward (Boston Celtics), Dwight Howard (Los Angeles Lakers), Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans), Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets), LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers), Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers), Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks), Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors), JaVale McGee (Los Angeles Lakers), Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks), Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz), Victor Oladipo (Indiana Pacers), Chris Paul (Oklahoma City Thunder), Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets), Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics), Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics), Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors), Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers), Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics), Russell Westbrook (Houston Rockets), Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).

Andre Iguodala says victory for the Miami Heat takes precedence over his own feelings as he prepares to face his former team the Golden State Warriors.

After making his Miami debut in the 115-109 loss against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, Iguodala and the Heat continue their road back-to-back with a meeting against the struggling Warriors (12-41) on Monday.

Having sat out of the first half of the season with the Memphis Grizzlies prior to his trade, the Portland game was the 36-year-old's first NBA outing since Game 6 of the NBA Finals while he was with the Warriors in June.

With the Heat (34-18) on a three-game losing run, halting that streak is the focus for Iguodala, who won three championships in six seasons with the Warriors.

"For this team, more importantly, we want to win," Iguodala said, per ESPN.

"This road trip is tough with a lot of guys down. We've got new bodies. Us getting a win is more important than how I feel. That's my mindset going into the game.

"I've played a lot of basketball games in my career, so the emotional highs and lows I don't have anymore. Everything is just another game."

While the Heat were beaten, Iguodala took the positives from playing 23 minutes against the Blazers. 

He had six rebounds, three assists, a steal and while he only scored two points, the Heat had a plus 10 points differential while he was on the court.

"I felt good," added Iguodala. "I wanted to get a feel for where I was at. 

"Honestly, I haven't even played a pickup game or anything since the Finals. I was trying to get a feel for where my wind was. Overall, I felt really good out there.

"It was exciting to be out there. It was like I was taking a sabbatical. Being away from the game makes you see how much you appreciate this game. 

"The longer you are away, when you get out there again, you are excited with every possession, every opportunity to put your stamp on the game. That's what I tried to do."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra revealed he ended up playing Iguodala for seven minutes longer than initially planned, but praised his shape before the game and said afterwards he would evaluate the veteran's condition prior to the Warriors meeting.

"The guy's a freak. Six percent body fat, and he's been off that kind of time? He looks incredible," said Spoelstra.

Stephen Curry is planning on making a return to action at the start of March, even though the Golden State Warriors will not be involved in the NBA playoffs this season.

The two-time MVP continues to go through rehabilitation work after twice undergoing surgery on the broken hand he suffered in October.

Interviewed by ESPN during the Warriors’ game with the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, Curry revealed he is back working on the court but still needs to build up his strength before he returns to the court.

The 31-year-old played in just four regular-season games before the injury against the Phoenix Suns, averaging 20.3 points and 6.5 assists.

"It's a work in progress, it’s getting better every day," Curry told ESPN. "I know it's a long process from the time it happened and the surgeries.

"I'm excited about hopefully getting back on the floor sooner than later.

"I don't have much strength – I can get shots up and can kind of do my basketball skill work, but I just got to get the strength right so I can deal with contact."

Asked if he was on target to be back in March, the point guard replied: "That's the plan. It's been the plan since surgery knowing the timeline with the injury, as severe as it was.

"I'm not rushing, but I'm setting a goal that hopefully I can meet in the first week of March to get back out on the floor, help my team-mates and hopefully end the season on a strong note."

Having seen Kevin Durant depart during the offseason and with starting guards Curry and Klay Thompson both sidelined with long-term injuries, the Warriors have endured a tough campaign.

After a 125-120 home loss to the Lakers, Golden State – who won the NBA title in 2015, 2017 and 2018 before losing to the Toronto Raptors in last year's finals - have a 12-41 record.

Andrew Wiggins made his debut in the team's latest defeat, scoring 24 points following his arrival from the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of a trade that saw D'Angelo Russell move in the opposite direction.

"We understand he's an amazing talent," Curry said of Wiggins, who also recorded five steals against the Lakers. "He fills a need for us at the three spot and we are going to have to build chemistry and understand exactly what the line-up is going to look like, but excited about the opportunity."

The Los Angeles Clippers were crushed by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA, while the Lakers claimed a win on Saturday.

The Timberwolves ended a 13-game losing streak with a 142-115 victory over the Clippers.

Jordan McLaughlin (24 points), Malik Beasley (23) and Karl-Anthony Towns (22) led Minnesota to their win.

Beasley went seven-of-13 from three-point range in what was the Timberwolves' 16th win of the season.

Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard (29 points) and Paul George (21) combined for 50 points.

The Lakers held off the Golden State Warriors in a 125-120 win.

Anthony Davis (27 points and 10 rebounds) and LeBron James (22 points and 11 assists) both had double-doubles.

 

Raptors roll on, Giannis leads Bucks

The Toronto Raptors posted their 14th straight win by edging the Brooklyn Nets 119-118.

Fred VanVleet (29 points), Pascal Siakam (20) and Terence Davis (20) led the way for the Raptors.

Giannis Antetokounmpo contributed 19 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists in the Milwaukee Bucks' 111-95 win over the Orlando Magic.

Deandre Ayton had 28 points and 19 rebounds, but the Phoenix Suns fell to the Denver Nuggets 117-108.

 

Magic pair battle

Aaron Gordon (seven points) and Wes Iwundu (two) went a combined three-of-18 from the field in Orlando's loss.

 

Monk magic

Malik Monk produced a huge dunk in the Charlotte Hornets' loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

Saturday's results

Milwaukee Bucks 111-95 Orlando Magic
Dallas Mavericks 116-100 Charlotte Hornets
New York Knicks 95-92 Detroit Pistons
New Orleans Pelicans 124-117 Indiana Pacers
Toronto Raptors 119-118 Brooklyn Nets
Minnesota Timberwolves 142-115 Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers 125-120 Golden State Warriors
Denver Nuggets 117-108 Phoenix Suns
Sacramento Kings 122-102 San Antonio Spurs

 

Jazz at Rockets

The Utah Jazz (33-18) visit the Houston Rockets (33-19) on Sunday in a clash between teams sitting fourth and fifth respectively in the Western Conference.

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